Hell’s Revenge and The Lion's Back

May 12, 2015 23 comments

Located in the heart of the Colorado Plateau, in Utah, in the western United States, between scenic red rock cliffs of Arches National Park and the incredible sandstone landscapes of Canyonlands National Park, the town of Moab offers endless opportunity for sightseeing and exploration. This is why this small town is a popular destination for adventure lovers. The rugged and beautiful desert terrain is marked with hundreds of trails for mountain biking and extreme 4x4 driving.

One particularly difficult trail, appropriately named Hell’s Revenge, consists of an 8.4 mile roller coaster ride across dangerously steep sandstone domes and ledges that are not for the faint of heart. It’s a challenging and difficult trail, recommended only for very experienced drivers with advanced equipment. As challenging as it is, Hell’s Revenge is also a very beautiful trail that takes you to high vantage points offering great views of the La Sal Mountains, Negro Bill Canyon, Abyss Canyon and the Colorado River. This area is also known for another famous motorcycle and mountain-bicycle trail called "Slickrock Bike Trail," east of the town of Moab.


Riding down the Lion’s Back, in Moab, Utah. Photo credit

Hell’s Revenge includes several obstacles named such as “Escalator”, “Black Hole” and the “Tip Over Challenge”. One popular obstacle that you will find along the way is “The Lion's Back”.

The Lion's Back is a sandstone ridge several hundred feet up. The climb involves riding up the slope having a gradient of up to 65 degrees in places, reach the top, make a turn and slowly descend down. Lion’s Back became famous years ago when a vehicle, lost its brakes and rolled down the hill, plunging 30 feet to the ground. Nobody died in the crash, but the event was caught on video tape and was shown on several television programs. The attraction and campground is now private property and no longer accessible by 4x4'ers.

Every year during Easter, hundreds of 4-wheelers come to challenge the rough terrain of the backcountry during Easter Jeep Safari, an event which runs for nine days, going through Easter Sunday.


The Lions’ Back. Photo credit


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Wheeling enthusiasts enjoy the Hell's Revenge Trail during Moab's Annual Easter Jeep Safari. Photo credit


A Jeep Cherokee climbs effortlessly up a steep rock wall along the Gold Bar Rim trail during Moab Easter Jeep Safari. Photo credit


A group of 4x4s ride along a steep dropoff on the Flat Iron Mesa ride at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab. Photo credit


The Escalator obstacle on the Hell’s Revenge trail in Moab. Photo credit


The Escalator obstacle on the Hell’s Revenge trail in Moab. Photo credit


Crawling up a rock on Hell's Revenge. Photo credit


The Mickey's Hot Tub on Hell's Revenge trail. Photo credit


Attempting to crawl out of Mickey's Hot Tub on Hell's Revenge trail. Photo credit


A Toyota coming up out of Hell's Gate, on Hell's Revenge trail. Photo credit


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Sources: Trails.com / Everytrail.com / Moab Adventure Center


  1. This article shows exactly the wrong way to use the backcountry.

  2. Someone has to be the 'bad' example.

  3. Disrespectful cultures like this put me right off visiting the USA

  4. Good, don't visit!

  5. It would be interesting to see the reaction of a 4x4 driver if someone left big black skid marks on their property

  6. Please do visit the USA. We need more people here who respect the wilderness and less of these douchebags.

  7. PLEASE.... tear up the earth as quickly as you can so that this and future generations will not be able to experience it in all of its natural grace and beauty! We MUST send thousands of big trucks all over to flatten and kill every species and leave huge scars on the earth's back. Please use a photo of manatee's backs scarred from boat motors as a great example for your project. Oh...and forget about the majority of us who experience, understand, and have gratitude for her (earths) miraculous powers of healing--- and awareness that without her we will all die....don't worry about us! maybe you can just crush us ALL with your big 4 x 4's. Too bad you don't understand the symbiotic relationship we have with the earth...too bad you can't just walk on her and lie on the rocks, or hear the beautiful sounds around you without engines. I'm sorry you don't know how to connect to her. She is our mother....YOUR mother.

  8. guess none of you commenting,save one, have enjoyed the hobby of 4x4 back country driving...whom by the way pay for the privilage

  9. Does the green paper "privilege" heal the damage of the "4 x 4 back country drivers" carnage after it is complete?

  10. Whaaa, your tearing up the rocks. Get over it, there are hundreds of miles of dessert, and there are only a few trails 4x4's are allowed on. This is the most unique and fun area in the world for 4x4 enthusiast. You would not even know it was there if not for them.

  11. We know its there because you've left skid marks on it. A permanent scar for your children to inherit. I've been 4 wheeling a few times - loved it - but it was on farm tracks, I left no trace and didn't make a hobby from it

  12. It's unfortunate that people like you feel the need to post opinions on things which you have absolutely zero knowledge about. This is an article about a relatively small area that is dedicated to off-road 4x4 and bicycle enthusiasts. The reason that there are black marks on the rocks is because everyone is following strict rules to stay on the same path and do not deviate from the specified areas. When one of these trails are closed, the black marks are quickly erased by wind and rain. I can guarantee that whatever country you are from there are people driving off-road with far fewer restrictions and less organization that this area.

  13. If an unfortunate person like you can provide evidence to a person like me that wind and rain (in the desert?) erases tire tracks in, say, a human lifetime, then I will happily eat my extra small (zero knowledge you see) hat.

  14. I think I can show you some evidence on the computer. Some of the darkest rubber tracks shown in the article are at the base of Lion's Back in the 3rd and 4th pictures from the top, wouldn't you agree?
    Go to Google Earth, or Google Maps satellite view and enter a search for 38°34'44.54"N, 109°31'45.85"W.
    That is the same exact location where you see the rubber marks in pictures 3 & 4. Access to that hill was closed sometime around 2006, so I would say that is much less than a human lifetime.
    Yes, rain and also snow.

  15. Providing all that has been posted on t'internet is legit it's hat on the menu for me tonight! I wonder what makes the rain so acidic? ;-)

  16. It is a waste land, if the 4x4s enjoy playing there it looks like a good place for them to tear up their trucks. Let them have fun. That is a big desert.

  17. I was fortunate enough to have known the wonderful land of Moab - long before it became the "4x4 playground". My grandparents owned a farm and I spent my summers there between 1943 - 1956. It was an amazing vacation. Our excitement was from physically running up and down the sand dunes, or jumping off the "old bridge" over the Colorado River. Older family "shot the rapids" on the Colorado and the Green River. We left no damage and the land remained pristine. I have nothing against ATVs or off-road when they also leaves no damage - but the red sandstone of Moab and Southern Utah are very vulnerable. So often, when something good, beautiful, fun is discovered by the masses - it begins its death spiral

  18. I love all the people that know absolutely nothing about wheeling on the slick rock! The tire marks that are the worst, are basically gone within a few years of a trail closure. There is no real "scarring". These are the same people that complain about hunters but can't give a logical or reasonable explanation of how to control animal populations without hunting when there are no natural predators. They also complain when they have increased animal/vehicle incidents.
    There are people out there that don't give a damn about anything, but everybody that I know and wheel with will stop and clean up things that are left by those less considerate. We are not out damaging and destroying the earth. We are enjoying it and looking after it, and yes, paying for it in a lot of instances. That money goes towards multiple conservation efforts that wouldn't exist without the funds raised by motorized outdoor enthusiasts or hunters.

  19. Get over it snowflakes. A few little skid marks on some rocks in the middle of nowhere is far less consequential then paving hundreds of square miles for you city dwellers to ride your bicycles.

  20. Most of the people complaining will never even visit the place. As soon as they left their comment they didn't check to see if the trail was still open, if there was any lasting damage, or wrote a complaint email to the park authority. They expect everyone to give into their fleeting demands while they do nothing.

  21. You should avoid showing all those manifestations that are disrespectful of nature and animals ...

  22. try it, you'll like it.


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